“The martyrs are a treasure and
a hope for the Church.”
Mexico City, Mexico, June 14, 2021
To the Federal Authorities of Mexico;
To the Authorities of the States of: Jalisco, Durango, Zacatecas and Nayarit;
To the National Human Rights Commission;
To the State Human Rights Commissions;
To all persons of good faith;
May the Lord give you peace!
The Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commissions of the Franciscan Family of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, with deep sorrow we lament the death of Rev. Fr. Juan Antonio Orozco Alvarado, OFM, belonging to the Franciscan Province of Saints Francis and James in Mexico, JPIC animator and composer of the Hymn of the Revolution Laudato Si’. We repudiate the events that occurred on June 12 of this year at 11:00 am, when our brother was on his way to celebrate the Eucharist in the Tepehuana Community of Pajaritos, belonging to the municipality of Mezquital, Durango. Unfortunately, he was killed in crossfire during an armed confrontation between the organized crime cartels that are in dispute over the territory of that area.
The systematic violence that is experienced in Mexico’s national territory as a result of the activity of organized crime cannot be ignored, nor can the little or no commitment and training on the part of federal, state and municipal authorities to not only protect citizens, but also to carry out an adequate investigation to prosecute and punish this type of crime, thereby violating the human right to life, dignity and security of the population in general.
Therefore, we demand that the authorities at all three levels:
1. To the State Attorney General’s Office of the corresponding entity, the full integration of the investigation, in which the correct collection of evidence and the exhaustive investigation of the crime scene are ensured so that the assassination of our brother Fr. Juan Antonio Orozco does not go unpunished.
2. To the judicial authorities, the respect for due process, as well as the reparation of the damage to the victims.
3. In the event, that there are more victims, we request that they be treated with dignity and respect for their human rights, in accordance with the provisions of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States, as well as the various international standards of human rights.
4. To the federal, state and municipal authorities, we demand the creation of public policies aimed at guaranteeing the defense of the security of the general population in accordance with international standards, thus guaranteeing public order.
We commit ourselves as Franciscans to continue announcing justice and peace, in an active commitment with other Christian organizations and Churches that defend Human Rights and the victims of this system of institutional violence.
On the other hand, we sympathize with the grief of the family of Rev. FR. Juan Antonio Orozco Alvarado, OFM, and we ask the God of Life to receive this new martyr with open arms and may his death be for us a sign of hope and struggle so that in our country justice may be the banner with which Christians raise their voices to say, “Stop the violence”, which contaminates our society and has permeated our families.
May his death be a seed of hope for the people who struggle!
Peace and all good!